In municipal court cases, the state has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the right to be notified of the charges (which are set forth in a criminal complaint), the right to be represented by an attorney, and the right to demand a jury trial. A defendant may plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere.
Juries in municipal court are composed of six persons. The verdict must be unanimous for a conviction. Usually when a jury hears a case, it is the trier of fact, and the judge is the interpreter of the law. But in municipal court, there is a peculiarity: the jury is the trier of the facts and the interpreter of the law, although in practice the judge usually instructs the jury regarding the law.
Jury trials are usually set on separate dockets ans tried on a special setting. Preliminary hearings are set by the court fo dispose of motions prior to trial. Since the amendment of the Speedy Trial Act in 1979, all Class C misdemeanors must be tried within 60 days from either the date that a complaint is filed in court against the defendant or the date of the arrest whichever comes first. In many Class C misdemeanor cases, such as traffic violations, no arrest is made. Usually good cause for the delay is shown, failure of the municipal court to try cases within this time will result in a dismissal.